Preheat oven to 350 degrees. To begin, gather all your ingredients so that you have everything close at hand. Carefully separate the egg yolks from the egg whites.
Prepare the Crust:
In a medium bowl, mix together the all-purpose flour and salt. Using a blending fork, cut in shortening. Add water in two parts, mixing until ingredients form a nice dough. Divide in half. Roll out on a floured surface big enough to fit pie pan. Makes 2 crusts.
For this recipe crimp edges and poke tiny holes all around with fork. Blind bake pastry by lining crust with a sheet of crumpled waxed paper and then filling it with 2 cups of dried beans. Bake on lowest rack in oven for 20 minutes with beans. Remove beans and paper and bake for another 15-17 minutes until lightly brown. (Baking with the dried beans will keep your crust from shrinking, and baking on the lowest rack will ensure that your crust is fully baked before adding your pudding to it.)
Preparing the Pudding:
In a medium saucepan, whisk together whole milk, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, salt, and butter. Heat on medium high heat until butter begins to melt.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl, stir together egg yolks, 1/4 cup remaining sugar, and cornstarch. Temper yolks with a 1/2 cup of the warm milk, slowly whisking until it thins.
Add yolk mixture to saucepan and cook for 4-5 minutes until mixture thickens, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and add vanilla extract and coconut flakes. Set aside while you make the meringue.
Prepare the Meringue:
In a large mixing bowl, add egg whites, vanilla extract, and cream of tartar. Beat together on medium speed for one minute. Gradually add granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time, beating at high speed for about 4 minutes. Mixture should form stiff glossy peaks.
Pour the coconut cream pudding into the baked pie pastry. Top with meringue, carefully spreading to the edges of the pie so that the meringue touches the crust.
Sprinkle the top with 1/2 cup coconut flakes. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until meringue is lightly browned. A perfect meringue will form spots of sugared caramel on top. Cool and serve. Serves 8.
*Unless otherwise indicated, all butter used on this recipe site is salted.